Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Where do toxic bulbs fit into waste plans?


August 9, 2018

Recently I looked to dispose of two broken compact fluorescent light bulbs. These are the type of bulb that releases highly toxic mercury when they break. My son once even made me throw away the vacuum cleaner after using it to clean up such breakage.

I talked to Haines Friends of Recycling. Though they will take intact CFL’s, they can’t take broken bulbs because of the mercury and I was left with the impression that the best I could do was to wrap up the bulbs really well, put them in an outside shed and keep them more or less for forever. When the Hazardous Waste Collection came along I tried there but they were equally unable to take these. It was a hot afternoon, I was meeting up with family to walk around town, I didn’t want to carry them back home, I did something I normally would never do, I put them in a town trash container.

I’m something of a reduce/reuse/recycle fanatic and I’m hoping someone has a solution for this disposal problem in Haines now and/or that our solid waste planners have been able to include broken toxic bulbs in their thinking. Such a wild and crazy world we live in. I really appreciate the electricity savings, I really don’t want to add mercury or other toxins to our clean air because of light bulb choices and I’m watching as University of Alaska makes plans to wreak havoc on an important filter, our trees.

Evelyna Vignola


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